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Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 | [Jeffrey Archer]

Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1

From the internationally best-selling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph. The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words "I was told that my father was killed in the war"....
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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph.

The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words "I was told that my father was killed in the war." A dock worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him at the shipyard once he's left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys' school, and his life is never the same.

As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to a question: was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his whole life on the docks, or the firstborn son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?

This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany.

From the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, Only Time Will Tell takes listeners on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life 100 years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the listener nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.

©2011 Jeffrey Archer (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Dana 12-01-11
    Dana 12-01-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hurry on for the story across the ocean"

    Now I can't sleep wondering if the characters will reunite. I was so enthralled in the story since the first chapter I just couldn't stop reading. Jeffrey Archer is an AMAZING story teller, and the reader feels like he's right there in the pub, in the ship, in the class, and I absolutely love it to the point of maddening. Bring on the sequel Jeff and lets get answers. Great job from a great writer!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Chesterfield, NJ, United States 09-23-11
    Lori Chesterfield, NJ, United States 09-23-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "A long time coming"

    I have truly, truly, truly enjoyed this book. The story was so well narrated, and well told until I couldnt put it down. Each and every person involved in the story had their own voice and I could see them in my mind's eye. When the "deep secret" finally came out I could barely contain myself. I loved the twists, and turns and the story told from everyones point of view. I'm only sorry that I will have to wait for the next book to see what happens to Harry. Loved it, loved it!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nora Portland, OR, United States 02-11-12
    Nora Portland, OR, United States 02-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you watch soap operas, you might like this book"

    The characters in "Only Time Will Tell" are one-dimensional and trite: The poor, struggling virtuous (or at least mostly virtuous) single mother sacrificing all for her son. The evil, rich ship-yard scion. The hard-working, nice-guy hero. Good grief. At any moment I expected the evil, rich guy to tie the poor, struggling, single mother to the railroad tracks. But that would have been too original for Archer. I fell asleep a few times while listening, only to awake to another absurd plot twist. I won't give any away, but Archer uses every silly soap opera trick. Occasionally, he injects historical facts to set the story in a real timeframe; these references are so obtrusive I'm guessing he employed a researcher and plugged in the researcher's notes whenever he got writer's block. (Note to Archer: fire your researcher. the Miranda case which resulted in the reading of Miranda rights was in 1966.) As one other reviewer stated, "...this is not literature." Nope. Not even close.
    The readers' performances, however, are very good.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 07-13-13
    Simone 07-13-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Off To A Good Start!"

    (As you may already know) I’m LOUSY at keeping track of who’s who in a story with over 4 or 5 main characters. Perhaps I don’t try hard enough or maybe I don’t stay focused long enough… whatever the reason it’s hard for me but I did not have ANY trouble with this book because of the clever way the story was written.

    Essentially it’s the same story told 7 times from the point of view of the 7 major characters but since each segment was long enough to really delve into, and because there was no flipping around, I was able to follow along effortlessly.

    I’d be hard pressed to tell you in a few sentences what the story was all about; it’s like trying to explain what’s going on in a Soap Opera. It’s about everything and nothing, it’s about the interesting happenings and secrets and lives of different people - a generational saga. My only complaint is that it ended with a cliffhanger – annoying!

    I can easily compare this book to A Dangerous Fortune and Fall of Giants by Ken Follett if it helps.

    This is the first in a series of 5 books, and I am in for the next instalment – in fact, I will download it and read it right away before I forget who everyone is!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 05-08-13
    Nancy 05-08-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BEFORE YOU WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY..."
    What would have made Only Time Will Tell better?

    Be aware that the final book in this trilogy ends as if the last chapter was left out!


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jeffrey Archer again?

    Never.


    Any additional comments?

    Definite cliffhanger and insists you buy book 2. Unfortunately, book 3 has no ending...most ridiculous fraud on a reader I've ever encountered.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane 07-30-12
    diane 07-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Waiting for more!"
    If you could sum up Only Time Will Tell in three words, what would they be?

    captivating entertaining


    Any additional comments?

    The story was great...the performing of the narration made it awesome!! So glad I listened rather than read this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Hirschfield 07-30-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Great Book"
    What made the experience of listening to Only Time Will Tell the most enjoyable?

    Enjoyed this book and all the characters. Archer winds his usual web. can't wait until the next book.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane Westlake Village, CA, United States 05-01-12
    Diane Westlake Village, CA, United States 05-01-12
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    "Intriguing story...characters grab you from start"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Only Time Will Tell to be better than the print version?

    yes


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Only Time Will Tell?

    when he finally is told how his father died


    Any additional comments?

    well worth the time. Can't wait for the second book to come out.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan The Sea Ranch, CA, United States 10-17-11
    Bryan The Sea Ranch, CA, United States 10-17-11 Member Since 2005
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    "Don't waste your time."

    Mediocre in all respects. The character development is unconvincing, the plot is predictable, and the story line is boring. I feel ripped off for the time I spent with it.

    I will not be awaiting the sequel.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 10-06-11
    A 10-06-11 Member Since 2003

    Love to read. Mysteries, history, romance, biography, current events, science, classic fiction. No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on GoodReads and BookLikes.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A long time fan"

    Jeffrey Archer has been one of my favorite storytellers for a very long time now. While I might not have always liked the story, I have always like the way it was told. As for JA's latest project, I can only say that I am hooked and I can't wait for the next one--I'm just sorry that it is going to take five years to get to the end of the story. I can deal with the shifting points of view and the multiple narrators; they make the story interesting.

    I have just one criticism of the book: historical inaccuracies and anachronisms drive me crazy. Fortunately, I don't know enough about English social history between the wars to be able to catch errors but I do know that Miranda rights did not exist in 1939 and that glaring error just drove me nuts. Killed the end of the book for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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